Director of Sláintecare urged to divest stake in private firm

Laura Magahy owns consultancy firm which received €2.2m from the HSE in 2016

From left, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Laura Magahy, Dr Tom Keane and Minister for Health Simon Harris. Photograph: Maxwell Photography

From left, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Laura Magahy, Dr Tom Keane and Minister for Health Simon Harris. Photograph: Maxwell Photography

 

The woman selected to oversee a 10-year plan to reform the State’s health service has been urged to divest her stake in a consultancy firm before taking up the role.

Laura Magahy’s appointment as executive director of the Sláintecare implementation group was announced on Thursday.

“Sláintecare provides a real opportunity to transform health services over the coming decade,” Ms Magahy said. “I’m committed to building on the foundation of consensus that has brought Sláintecare to this point, and to working with all stakeholders to make the vision set out in the Sláintecare report a reality.”

The Sláintecare report, produced by an all-party committee and published a year ago, has been hailed by its supporters as a blueprint for the future of the health service. It recommends a series of reforms throughout the health service, including the complete separation of the public and private systems of healthcare which currently overlap in many instances.

Ms Magahy is a former director of Temple Bar Properties and former project manager of the Irish Film Institute. She also led the project to relocate Temple Street Children’s Hospital to a site at the Mater hospital in Dublin.

After leaving her role with Temple Bar Properties in 2000, she won a contract to provide executive services for the ill-fated “Bertie Bowl” – a stadium proposal backed by former taoiseach Bertie Ahern – and Sports Campus Ireland at Abbotstown in Dublin.

Health service reform

Ms Magahy also owns a consultancy firm, M.CO Projects, which received more than €2.2 million from the Health Service Executive in 2016 for work on a wide range of projects on health service reform.

Social Democrats TD Róisín Shortall said the Government must clarify how “these commercial interests can be reconciled with Ms Magahy’s new role with Sláintecare and what her relationship with M.CO Projects will be”.

Minister for Health Simon Harris said Ms Magahy now had a full-time position with Sláintecare and must divest her stake in the consultancy firm.

Mr Harris said her appointment marked an important day in reforming the health service. He said promised proposals on how to implement Sláintecare would be considered by the Cabinet next week.

The Government also approved the appointment of Dr Tom Keane to chair the Sláintecare Advisory Council, which will provide expert and independent advice to the Sláintecare Programme Office.